BAGUIO

Baguio 'hotspot of serious concern' for Covid-19

OCTA Research tagged Baguio City as among the “hotspots of serious concerns” for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after the city topped in the list of areas with high transmission.

According to the research team, the average daily new cases in Baguio City from November 1 to 7 and November 8 to 14 range from 44-40 with a high attack rate of 11.2 percent and with hospital occupancy of 81 percent for the two-week period.

“We use as basis the attack rate per 1,000 for the most current two-week period. The attack rate is just the number of new cases per day relative to population. For example, a daily attack rate of 5 percent per 1,000 means that there are 5 new cases per 100,000 of population per day. A higher attack rate means more people are getting infected,” Octa Research said on the analysis of hotspot areas.

“We are concerned that if the surge is not contained, these local government units (LGU) may experience high hospital burden in the coming weeks that may stress their health care systems and overwhelm their medical front-liners,” the Octa Research team added.

Recommendations

According to Octa Research, included in the list of high-risk areas are Makati City, La Trinidad and Itogon in Benguet; Batangas City; Lucena City and Lopez, Quezon; and Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur with Davao in the same level as Baguio City.

To reverse the increase in transmission in their communities, the research team urged the identified high-risk LGUs to further intensify their efforts at testing, tracing, and isolation.

Octa recommends the implementation of more aggressive and effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls to suppress further viral transmissions in the high-risk LGUs.

The team urged the national and the local governments to strictly monitor and enforce compliance with minimum health standards such as physical distancing, the wearing of face mask and face shields, and proper hygiene to reverse the increase in transmissions at the community level.

The Octa Research team is an independent and interdisciplinary research group composed primarily of UP faculty members and alumni. The team also includes contributors from the University of Santo Tomas and Providence College, USA.

Stricter borders

Mayor Benjamin Magalong announced on Thursday restricted access between municipalities of La Trinidad, Tuba, Tublay, and Sablan beginning November 21 until December 4, covering the entry points of La Trinidad, and Tuba, respectively.

The order states only those residents of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay who are workers of public and private offices or establishments in Baguio, and those with medical appointments or medical emergencies, are allowed to enter the city during this period.

The same treatment will be given to Sablan, Tublay, and Tuba residents who can enter Baguio to access essential goods and services on the designated schedule provided by their respective barangays.

Documents will be presented in checkpoints in order for residents to travel, while Baguio residents are cautioned to also limit their travels to La Trinidad, Sablan, Tublay, and Tuba.

Offices and establishments with employees and workers residing in these areas are urged to implement work-from-home or alternate work arrangements during this time.

Local tourism

In the wake of the research findings, in a November 19 statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support to the Baguio City’s continued promotion and tourism activities.

DOT said it recognizes the able leadership of Mayor Magalong and fully supports all the efforts of the local government as it implements measures to ensure the health and safety of all locals and visitors.

“The DOT likewise commits to continue its support to the country’s summer capital in terms of marketing and promotions to assist in the revival of the tourism industry. Baguio remains to be a premier destination for our domestic travelers and the Department will exert all efforts to ensure the slow but sure recovery of the industry and help bring livelihood back,” DOT’s statement read.


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